Another Presenter’s University Article

Betsy Weber from Techsmith has a new article on Presenter’s University, Screencasting Tips for Beginners. If you use Camtasia it is definitely worth checking out for the ton of good tips. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be one of the contributors on the article. You can read it by clicking here.

Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Resource/Misc

New Article (Projectors and PowerPoint)

Presenter’s University just posted my latest article. This article is a look into the technical apsects of the Display Control Settings to send the proper signal to a projector (or secondary display). Hopefully many people will find the information clear, consise, and helpful!

Click here to read it.

-Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Resource/Misc

Display Standards Chart

While researching an upcoming article I found this incredibly detailed illustration of the various display standards out there. Understanding the various display sizes is important when designing a presentation that will viewed on a non-standard aspect ratio (eg. wide screen).

Video Standards Chart

This chart comes from the Wikipedia section of when searching “Display Resolution.” Click here to view a full resolution version (2560x2048px).

Troy @ TLC


Adding Sounds To Interactive Elements

It is the fine details that make a project perfect. On a current project with lots of interactivity, includes mouse over / roll over sounds. Of course what is a good mouse over sound is somewhat subjective. To make communication easy I quickly created this mini-application that allowed the client to preview a selection of sounds, with the selected being added to the presentation. Click here to open, or download (500k).

Troy @ TLC


Circle and Triangle Shadow Boxes

The Shadow Box concept is not constrained to rectangles. I use variations of Shadow Boxes in every conceivable way, always with the goal of adding depth and visual dynamics to the slides. Here are two samples I created that use a circle and triangle.

Circle Shadow Box Applied
Here I duplicated the circle, removed the outline/stroke and went into the Fill Effects exactly the same as described in the previous post. But here I am using a color for the center and I manually distorted the circle to give it the cast shadow effect.

Pyramid Shadow Box
Here I duplicated the Pyramid, removed the outline/stroke and went into the fill effects. The difference is that I set the Shading Styles to be Horizontal so the gradient went from the top of the image to nothing at the bottom. I then really distorted the autoshape (extending it far beyond the boundary of the viewable slide) and positioned to create the drop shadow effect.

Troy @ TLC


Create Shadow Boxes

A simple shadow element can add depth and eliminate some of the flat look and feel of a slide. In the last post I added a simple shadow box to a list box and a chart, here is how to create the shadow box – using PowerPoint autoshapes.

First create a rectangle. Set the fill to black and no outline/stroke.
PowerPoint rectangle autoshape

With the rectangle selected go to the Fill Effects.
Fill Effects

(1) In the Fill Effects window
(2) Go to the Gradient tab
(3) Move the slider all the way to the right/lighter
(4) Adjust the From opacity to 40%
(5) The To opacity should be at 100% (set when we moved the slider in #3)
(6) In the Shading Styles select From Center
Fill Effects Settings

Your rectangle will now look like this:
Smooth Gradient Filled Rectangle

The best thing about this rectangle is that it is a native PowerPoint autoshape. It can be adjusted as large or small as needed without any distortion or loss of quality. In addition you can go back into the Fill Effects and change the color and the inner opacity to best suite your slide!

Troy @ TLC

Portfolio Tutorial

Visual Appeal to “Standard” Elements

If you look at these two examples, there is only one difference between the “before and after” elements; the addition of a shadow box to add depth.

The wonderful thing about both of these is the shadow box element was created using native PowerPoint autoshapes. So in just a few clicks elements in your presentation can get a little extra pizzaz!

(Up next, how to create shadow boxes)

Troy @ TLC

Personal Portfolio

Acura Show and Versatubes

Just wrapped up work at the New York Auto Show (weather was perfect!). Here is the staging for the Acura meeting. The large screen in the center is a traditional (high-definition) rear-projection screen. All of the bars on the sides are called Versatubes.
Acura NY Auto Show staging
1 computer for center screen graphics. 1 computer for LED Versatubes on the immediate left/right of center screen. 1 computer for LED Versatubes on the left/right sidewalls. The versatubes are literally a grid of “light bars” that interpret the video signal and display the PowerPoint slide across them. Think of pointillism(eg. seraut)when looked at up close is just a bunch of dots, but from a distance it is a picture; same idea with versatubes.
Close up of the Versatubes


Making Movies SMALL and making them WORK

So the best way to assure (as much as possible) that linked movies play is to create them using a standard Windows Codec and use the most native Windows format (.wmv). The easiest way to accomplish this, reduce the file size and maintain quality is to have the PFCMedia add-in handle inserting and converting the movie.

One of the surprises is how well it optimizes the video files. Take a look at these before and after file sizes. The .mpeg1 files were supplied by client and the **PFC.wmv files created with PFCMedia, almost a 50% file size reduction and no noticeable quality loss during playback!

PFCMedia shrunk my movies by 50%!

Troy @ TLC

Personal PowerPoint

Computer Cables Gone Wild

I am spending the week at the New York Auto Show working on press event presentations for both Honda and Acura. Tons of very cool presentation technology in action, but it just dawned on me how big of a mess I’ve created over the past two days.

Here is what happens when you have no room to work and you setup eight computers, power for stage lighting, controls for car turntables and I’m not sure what else is down there at this point…
Cables for my 8 computers and the other stuff...

Of course it could always be worse. Here is the just one of the video production area cabling!
Cables for just one section of "video village"

Troy @ TLC